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Q&A With Founder of Chapul Cricket Bars

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Does the thought of eating bugs gross you out? This new line of protein bars might change your mind.

Chapul Cricket Bars founder Pat Crowley launched his company with a mission to create organic, sustainably produced, and tasty energy bars.

The inspiration behind his company is simple: insect protein is a solution to overconsumption of freshwater in agriculture. Since insects convert grains and grass into edible protein 10x more efficiently than cows and pigs, shifting even a small fraction of our protein consumption to these environmentally friendly (and tasty, I promise!) insects can reduce our water use significantly.

I caught up with Pat to learn how he started the company and how he convinces people to eat bugs on a daily basis:

Q: How did the idea originate?

A: The idea originated from my work as a hydrologist and agricultural water use. I had actively been working towards creating a more sustainable food system when I learned about insects as an alternative protein source. From a water-perspective it's a total game-changer when compared to our current protein sources.

Our flavors are modeled after regions of the world that currently, or historically, ate insects. Our Thai bar is a rich mix of almond butter and cashews, with a coconut, ginger, lime flavor. Our Aztec bar has rich, unique flavors from Mesoamerica with dark chocolate, coffee, and a spicy kick with cayenne chili. Our original bar is the All-American flavor of peanut butter and chocolate, named the Chaco bar, after the Chaco culture that lived in the Colorado River area.

Q: How do you helps skeptics overcome the idea of eating cricket protein?

We make a dry protein flour out of the crickets, which we mix into a delicious all natural energy bar. With the visual aspect of eating insects removed, its a very easy first introduction, and you get a healthy, tasty snack as well!

Q: Tell us about the health benefits.

Crickets are an excellent source of protein, that contain all the essential amino acids and are rich in iron and calcium, and other micro-nutrients. Nutritional info for our bars can be found on our website for each flavor.

Q: What positive shifts have you seen in the food industry?

Protein alternatives are gaining more attention as the consciousness of our food system's impact on our environment is readily increasing. There are many promising trends in the food industry towards organic and local foods, with a customer base that is better educated and desires responsible sourcing of ingredients.

Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?

When I decided to start Chapul, I received my "MBA" from books at the public library, and free university podcasts that I listened to on my bus ride to and from work.

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